Master Scuba diving trainer Captain Jerry Williams knows a bit about navigating open water?he's a US Coast Guard captain. He taps into his nautical experience at Keys Huka and Scuba, where he leads classes ranging from basic to master. During sessions, Captain Williams and his staff teach everything from the basics to specialties such as digital underwater photography that doesn't require an underwater darkroom. They also helm hookah dives, which are a combination of snorkeling and scuba diving, as well as snorkeling trips that explore wildlife and reefs.
The Coral Restoration Foundation takes an active approach to restoring coral reefs. Its teams grow and plant new coral clusters in reefs near the Florida Keys and in tropical water around Colombia and Bonaire. Since it started restoring reefs in 2003, the team has outplanted more than 10,000 corals in local reefs with an 80% survival rate. They focus on two varieties of threatened coral?staghorn and elkhorn?which then provide shelter for a variety of fish species and preserve a delicate ecosystem.
Through collaborations with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and other friends, the Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys helps preserve, restore, and sustain the coral-reef ecosystem. Along with coastline-cleanup projects, its volunteers protect the coral reef through the mooring buoy program, and by teaching middle-school children how to remove invasive lionfish through the coral-reef classroom.
True to its name, more than 95% of Biscayne National Underwater Park is covered by water, resulting in a submerged, verdant landscape. In the shallows of Biscayne Bay, explorers can catch sight of waving fields of underwater grass as well as the occasional manatee, sea turtle, or wild submarine. Kayaks paddle out to the more than 30 islands dotting the park’s expanse, reaching destinations such as a 1930s lighthouse. Venturing out from the shore filled with lush mangrove forests, snorkelers dive into living reefs to see fish and turtles gluing the coral together.
White Star Farms' paso fino horses chauffeur learning riders through 15 acres of undulating tropical farmland carpeted with lush lawns and hemmed with palm trees. During private lessons, experienced instructors saddle and dress steeds before showing aspiring equestrians the horseback-riding ropes. After students don protective helmets and parachute pants, the expert equestrian gently shepherds riders as they build confidence and trust with their four-legged companions. While galloping along, pupils glean tips on horseback-riding basics, such as holding the reins and controlling the horse. As time astride the smooth-riding paso fino horse lengthens, students may notice the breed's signature four-beat gait, an unmistakable rhythm rivaled only by a salsa-dancing bongo.
We spoke with Jack Macaluso?Regional Social Media and Web Coordinator at Beauty Schools of America?about how the academies prepare students for careers in the real world and why it's important for the schools to give back to their communities.
On the schools' mission
Above all else, Jack says that the schools "try to focus and harness the students' creativity," while giving them all of the experience and practical skills they need not simply to be prepared to enter the work force, but to succeed and thrive. The relatively lengthy training programs ensure that aspiring stylists, cosmetologists, makeup artists, barbers, and massage therapists fully understand the intricacies of their chosen specialty, as well as what they need to do to continue advancing their future career according to Jack.
On the role of the instructors
With a roster of instructors that includes industry professionals with international spa and salon experience, Beauty Schools of America strives to give attendees a broad view of the numerous options open to them. Jack is also clear that the teachers' guidance isn't limited to classroom environments. When the advanced-level students are allowed hone their talents by performing treatments for actual clients, "an instructor or two will always be there to assist and answer questions," he says.
On the products that the students use during treatments
Students use brand name products like Moroccanoil, Sojourn, Nioxin, and others. Working alongside their instructors at modern service stations, these stylists use these products to craft en vogue cuts, color, styling and therapeutic practices.
On the schools' charitable involvement
Beauty Schools of America embraces opportunities to give back to its communities while providing real-world experience for students at the same time. Jack goes on to describe events where the schools' aspiring barbers and cosmetologists performed complimentary services for underprivileged residents, and he mentions one specific occasion when massage students provided free treatments for community members who participated in a bike ride dedicated to raising awareness about multiple sclerosis.